Monday, October 20, 2008

Mateo Ossman: Former Spanish CBL Student Works through the Current Financial Crisis

And when I say works "through" the crisis, that's literally what I mean. Mateo says that he's putting in 70-80 hours a week at his job at Northern Trust in downtown Chicago, helping clients (old and new) to manage their money during this time of financial upheaval. Those are long hours, sure, but he still has a job while many people in the financial sector (especially with flashier firms) are losing their jobs.

Mateo and his fiancee (Danielle Tripicchio) came down for the football game over the weekend, and he and I met up at Espresso Royale. Personally, it was really great to see Mato again. And for students, he shared some information that I think could benefit you.

Background: Mateo majored in accounting here at the U of I and took Spanish classes. He spent a year in Barcelona. During his senior year he took SPAN 332 "Spanish & Entrepreneurship," did his community-based learning work at ECIRMAC, and wrote a case study (with two other students) about CBL and ECIRMAC for his senior thesis. All of that, plus an accounting major. Wow.

Intercambios: His year in Barcelona obviously meant a lot for Mateo--for his Spanish, for the relationships he formed, for the travel and for the learning (of all kinds). Mateo mentioned something to me that I thought was really smart. Like many students, he had intercambios with Spanish-speakers who wanted to practice their English. But unlike most students, he told his intercambios that instead of just meeting up in a café, they should meet up somewhere signficant. So, for example, one of his intercambios met him where her family worked. So Mateo got to practice his Spanish at the same time he learned about her family and their work. These types of "walking tours" let him work on his language skills and cultural knowledge at the same time.

Entrepreneurial mindset: Thinking about the discussion question Marcos posted for our Facebook group (How do you plan to use your CBL acquired skills in the future? ), I asked Mateo if he has been able to use anything from CBL in his life. He told me that he has been able to apply entrepreneurial concepts from SPAN 332 to his job. People come to him for advice and to bounce ideas off of because he thinks entrepreneurially, innovatively, outside of the box. (I always knew that about you, Mateo!)

I love reconnecting with my former students, and I love giving current students examples of graduates who were in their positions just a few short years ago, took advantage of Spanish CBL, study abroad, etc. and became successful.

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